Physical Activity of Middle School Students from Cluj-Napoca during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Keywords:physical education, children, adolescents, COVID-19
Physical activity has numerous health benefits, including better cardiorespiratory fitness, skeletal health, psychological health and reducing obesity. However, more than 80% of adolescents worldwide are not active enough, failing to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, the percentage might be even higher. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the level of physical activity and its influencing factors in a sample of 333 middle school students (mean age = 12.93, SD = 1.20) from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted and two instruments were used to assess interest variables, the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children and the Cues, Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results showed a low level of physical activity in our sample for both male (M = 2.76, SD = 0.76) and female (M = 2.62, SD = 0.63) adolescents. The most commonly reported cue to physical activity was “encouragement from parent(s) to exercise”, the most prevalent perceived benefit was “to stay in shape”, and the most powerful barrier was “wanting to do other things with personal time”. Conclusion: Understanding adolescents’ cues, perceived benefits and barriers to physical activity could help teachers and coaches to provide suitable programmes, and parents or peers to support adolescents. Discussion includes implications for practice and guidelines for policymakers and participants.
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